My Vook Publishing Review

So it was actually quite some time ago that the idea of turning my blog into an eBook first occurred to me. 

But first, we should ask ourselves an important question…is turning a blog into a book even a good idea to begin with?

The answer will depend on who you ask, like most things. However, I do know that several well known bloggers have compiled anthologies of their best blog content and used it to publish a book or eBook.

Before we dive in to this though, I just wanted to make it clear that I do not have any illusions about my blog being turned into a book that makes me millions of dollars. I know that isn’t going to happen.

In fact, the blog makes me nothing at all in terms of money other than the affiliate links I endorse, which aren’t many. 

So what was my motivation with this idea? To offer my best blog content in another format and in doing so, reach more people who may be more responsive to an eBook than they are to a blog. The way I look at it, all it really means is that there is one more way to be found.

And in the online world, being found is the most important thing. Period.

What I Wanted to Do

Okay, so…what did I want to do specifically to create this book from my blog?

First, I wanted to narrow it down to a single category. As you may have noticed, I post on several different topics and sort them according to which category they fit best in.

My main categories are:

  1. Self-Publishing
  2. Freelance Writing
  3. Making Money Online
  4. Internet Marketing
  5. Branding
  6. Social Media

It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that categories one and two have a significant overlap. So do categories three and four, but I don’t focus on them as much as the first two.

I was most interested in turning my posts about self-publishing into an eBook. I blog about that more than the other topics and felt that I had the most value to offer within that group of posts.

Also important to take note of is that the appeal of the eBook will be tenfold if it centers around one topic, rather than several which is fine for the blog.

Why I Didn’t Want to Do It Myself

Some of my readers have probably already figured out that I’m a DIY type when it comes to getting things done online. 

This can likely be attributed to my own roots — I started with nothing at all and used only free resources when I began to create my online platform.

I’m also just a huge fan of free tools and can rarely justify paying for something when there is a free alternative that gets the job done just as well, or nearly as well. I admire companies like Google because they create free tools that kick ass, or at least they once did. 

So why then, you might ask, did I not simply opt to take on this project myself? 

When I went to publish my first book in 2010, formatting was one of the aspects of self-publishing that I quickly came to wish I could just outsource to someone who knew what the hell they were doing. 

It took me many long hours to get it just to the point where I felt it was acceptable for publishing. That’s to say, it still could have used some work once I called it good and published it. 

Quite simply, I didn’t have the money for professional formatting at that time. 

Of course, later on I would discover that my underused HTML skills were actually quite handy for Kindle formatting. Wish I had figured that one out earlier on. I was finally able to create an HTML template for Kindle books that you can download once you sign up for a free membership in my author’s training course.

But back to the story at hand. 

First I had to figure out how the hell to get all the text from my blog posts out of WordPress, which wasn’t as easy as I had hoped it would be. The first place I went to look was the native “Import/Export” menu in WordPress itself.

However, this only creates an XML file for importing into another WordPress installation. That was disappointing. 

So I headed over to Google to find out what my options were for exporting the text from my posts. Ideally, I wanted to export them as HTML in order to preserve the hyperlinks. Otherwise, I would have to go back and manually add all the links which would be a serious drag.

Sadly, I wasn’t able to find any good solution to achieve this. 

While I did find a cool service that turns blogs into print books you can order, it was only available for free blogging platforms like Blogger, Typepad and WordPress.com blogs, much to my dismay.

Next, I headed on over to the WordPress plugin directory and did a search for “export posts” to see if any developer had come up with a solution. Again, pretty grim results. 

I finally found a plugin that would export posts to a PDF, but there were some major problems. There was no option to exclude images, which I wanted to do (more on that in a moment). The resulting PDF was far from what I had hoped and definitely what I had envisioned the book to be like.

Since this time around I had the funds, I decided this would be a task better handled by a group of people who were professionals and that’s where Vook comes in.

Why I Chose to Work With Vook

imagesFirst, a little bit of background on them to serve as an introduction. Vook is a New York-based startup that specializes in book apps and interactive eBooks that feature several forms of multimedia, including videos. 

I had first discovered their website quite some time ago, when searching for professional ebook conversion services. I thought that their services looked promising, but they had no prices listed on their website and instead asked you to fill out a form for a free quote.

That along with the fact that they were advertising in Google AdWords was enough to convince me that they were likely out of my budget at that time, which would have been true as it turns out. 

Vook offers just about everything you could imagine for eBooks, from production and creation to cover design and an attractive distribution package that makes your books available on Amazon, B&N and the iBookstore.

Okay, but seriously…other than the fact that they were offering just what I needed, do you want to know what one of the main reasons I chose to hire them was?

Gary Vaynerchuk. I’m so in love with Gary. 

Any company who helps to create his books has to be awesome. It just makes perfect sense. 

Vook’s version of his popular 2009 book “Crush It,” includes a ton of video content that supplements the text and features exclusive interviews with the man himself. 

If anyone reading this has never heard of Mr. Vaynerchuk, stop reading this right now and watch this keynote speech he gave back in 2011. Now you’re in love with him too, right?

My Thoughts on the Vook Experience

So once I was decided on hiring Vook, I went ahead and filled out their quote form and attached the PDF I had created using the WordPress plugin as my manuscript. They sent a prompt reply and quoted me $350 for the eBook file creation, which I agreed to.

Next, they sent over some paperwork and I happily signed the agreement, which was very detailed and outlined exactly what they would do and what I would end up owing them.

Next, I received an email informing me that my Vook client dashboard had been created and they provided me with my login details. 

The dashboard is very clean and easy to use. It shows you the progress of your titles and has an “assets” button which is where you upload your documents and include any notes about the project that the staff may need along the way.

Speaking of the staff, I’d like to just say that they were incredibly professional, friendly and helpful throughout the process of creating my eBook files and cover design, which was an additional $199 I opted to tack onto my order. The project was handled with a high level of efficiency and they went out of their way to ensure that everything was right with the files before I approved them earlier today.

Since I still don’t actually own an eReader device, I downloaded some (apparently) quirky desktop program to read the preview of the epub file they sent for approval. I don’t remember what it was called, but it must have been kind of crappy because for some reason it generated the post titles twice throughout the whole book.

When I requested a revision and explained the problem to the Vook team, they quickly got back to me and informed me that they had tested it out on all major eReader devices and did not encounter this particular issue. So I went and downloaded Adobe Digital Editions and opened the file with that instead, only to find that it was in fact perfect.

Must have been the program, so I went ahead and approved it immediately and thanked them for the outstanding experience they provided. I asked to be invoiced separately for the two services, which they were more than willing to accommodate me on.

I then sent them $550 via Paypal and my collection of blog posts is in the process of publishing in Amazon’s Kindle store at this very moment.

My Blog is Reborn as an eBook

I just checked on it a few minutes ago and it now has an ASIN, so it should be live soon. This should be an interesting publishing experiment, though I don’t expect it will sell many copies considering the content is available for free right here on the blog.

Which reminds me of the post I wrote not too long ago about non-copyrighted material in the eyes of Amazon, who have clearly stated in the past that they do not accept material which is available elsewhere on the web for free.

However, in that same post I shared a link to another author who published her fiction both on Amazon and elsewhere for free. Amazon gave her a pass, but what will the verdict be for others who do the same?

I guess we’ll find out.

This is dragging on longer than I had planned, so in closing I will simply encourage those who truly enjoy reading my blog to head on over to Amazon in a few hours and grab a copy of the eBook to show their support.

I will be eternally grateful and it will help me keep this site going, which is a tremendous help. It is jam packed with the best of my content on self-publishing and book marketing and I hope you enjoy it! Or you can grab a free copy by subscribing to my author’s training course.

Those students who need qualified review writing help can buy a book review at PapersMart.net online, custom written from scratch.

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